The Brief, July 2017


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July 10, 2017 

Qatar-Gulf States Crisis Deepens

As a Saudi-led coalition of Arab countries threatens to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar over allegations it supports extremists, Johns Hopkins SAIS experts weighed in on the increased tensions, U.S. involvement, and future of international business relations.

Foreign Policy Institute Herter/Nitze Distinguished Scholar Antony Blinken wrote in The New York Times that the Arab nations "see Qatar as an enabler of extremists, providing them financial support, political backing or the region’s most powerful megaphone, the Al Jazeera television network." Read more

Foreign Policy Institute Fellow Randa Slim told NPR that "by supporting Islamists in Syria, it gives Qatar a place at the negotiation table over the future of Syria. By supporting Islamists in Egypt, it gives a place for Qatar over the future of Egypt." Hear more

Dean Vali Nasr told PBS NewsHour that U.S. President Donald Trump's first foreign trip to Saudi Arabia empowered Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman "to be aggressive with anyone who crosses Saudi lines on Iran or the Muslim Brotherhood." Read more

Adjunct Lecturer Kelly Magsamen told The Guardian that U.S. President Trump publicly picked a side in the Qatar-Saudi dispute and "it’s not clear whether there was a deliberate American decision before the president leaned in, and whether the national security council ran any sort of process on the risks of encouraging the Saudis and Emiratis to put pressure on the Qataris." Read more

Randa Slim
 also told WNYC’s The Takeaway, "we are going to see a ratcheting up of sanctions, maybe the Saudis and Emiratis asking countries around the world to take sides, and it’s going to be tough on companies that have large investments and large businesses with Saudis and Emiratis – as well as Qatar – to choose a side." Hear more  

Adjunct Professor of Middle East Studies Sanam Vakil told CNBC the Saudi Arabia-led regional spat is a distraction from its own internal threats and uncertainty from reform, and "the real challenge is at home, which is declining oil prices and a very young population in need of one thing: jobs." Watch more

The Brief highlights Johns Hopkins SAIS expertise on current events and is produced monthly by the Office of Marketing, Communications, and Strategic Initiatives. Like The Brief? Share it on Facebook and Twitter, forward to a friend, or subscribe